Monday, September 13, 2010

How to get children interested in reading books?

How to make children read books? - Tips to motivate children for reading books

I'm not an expert of  child development or child psychology. So all I can say is how my father made me a  good reader. I don't understand how to put it in a line or by order. So I would just say how I feel about it.

Tip # 1 - Lead by example.

My father was a good reader. He had a huge library at home. He loved books so much. When I was really small, the first impression I got was, he is a hero. He loves books.  So I also should love books. So I started cleaning the library and touching the books and seeing pictures, even before I could read letters. 

Tip # 2 - Help them to be independent readers.

I know most mothers get books for their children and read those for them. But unless you are careful, children may never learn to read. They will always expect you to read and tell them the story. Instead what you can do is, while you are reading the story to them, explain them the words, letters and how to read, how to identify letters etc.

Tip # 3 - Make it a wonderful experience.

The first books you give to your children, will decide on whether they are going to be readers or not. Make sure you give them the most interesting and simple to read books first. First explain them a story or two. Show them pictures and teach them how to read. Select the books depending on the age group.

I started reading way before other kids of my age started. In grade one, when other children learn to write letters, I was reading small books. Because somehow it was a happy thing to do even at that age.

Tip # 4 - Take the kids to a library.

When I was about 3 or 4 years, my father took me to the children's library everyday. So I started reading. When I finished reading all the books in the children's section, I requested I wanted to go to the general  section. Librarian refused saying that I have to be more than 10 years to enter there.

Tip # 5 - Buy them the best story books.

So my father had no option, but to buy me books. When he received his small salary from government service job, he allocated a certain percentage to buy me books. He selected  the best books from book exhibitions and old book sales and gifted me some how no matter what other money issued they had. So every week, I received a big story book.

Tip # 6 - Help them to build a library

I don't know how practical for a less income generating family to do this. If this is not possible you can skip this step. But by doing this, you can teach them how to respect and protect books.

By the time I was about 10 years, I had a whole set of books with me. Those were like my valuable property. My father took a brown paper or an old calendar sheet and made a cover to the books saying that the books should be kept cleaned and nice and just like that original after reading. He taught me to keep a registry of books. I had a small note book. I numbered all the books I had. Then I listed them in the note book in alphabetical order. I put the book name, number and author's name.

I somehow felt I'm an important person by doing this. That was like a job to protect those. Frequently my aunts and uncles and their little kids who never reads came to see my library. Some of them wanted to take books home, read and return. But they never returned. After some time I realized that they haven't read those as well. But just like most of the normal people do, they also wanted those when they see a nicely arranged book shelf. I was so furious and I kept the door of my library room locked, so that no one can go there. I put up a board in the door saying "Only to read. Not to lend". So no one wanted to enter that room after that, obviously because no one was interested in reading!!! Same as there were poeple who loved reading and loved books. They always protected those books and returned them nicely the same way I used them. Those who loves reading, knows how to use books.

I never realized that I have absolutely fallen in love with reading by this time. I could not eat without a book. I could not start a day without reading a book. It has become an addiction. 

Tip # 7 - Reading becomes part of the life

When I was in grade 3 or 4, my father rented good books from the general section of the library and gave me to read after he also reads the content. So by the time I get the membership I have read half of the books there. I knew lot of stories compared to other children of my age. I was telling them the fairy tales and the folk stories of many countries while they listened with wide opened mouths. So I was very happy, proud and a confident child. At primary grades I never studied a book but always ended up with good marks. I think that is also thanks to my reading habit.

Tip # 8 - Encourage reading newspapers

Thanks to my fathers government job, we received approximately 4 or 5 national news papers everyday. Other than that, my mother being a science teacher used to bring a scientific news paper published for children. Therefore I started reading news papers as well. Some days morning we had a huge fight to read the news paper first. Today after so many years, I start the day by reading all the news web sites.

Tip # 9 - Teach them how to find books on their own

Now the time is changed than my childhood. My father spent so many hours taking me to book exhibitions and used book sales and libraries to show me how to select books. We read the preface and the last cover page of the book, about the author and we read newspaper articles on books etc. We worked hard to find good books. But now it's a simple matter of login to internet. You can get a review on any book and for that matter you can read e-books and order books online after reading buyer reviews and ratings as well.


Today I have my own large library. I also buy books and read books. Since I don't get free news papers like my father got, I subscribed to a news paper delivery agent. I consider my self as a happy and successful person in life. I can say my reading habit is largely responsible to where I'm today. Hope this helps somewhat. In Transporter movie it says that "the way a man treats his car is how he treats himself". Just like that, I would say.....
"The way a child treat books, is how he will treat him self:"!!

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